Have you ever watched a crime drama and wondered, “Who cleans up a murder scene? Who cleans up after someone dies, especially if it’s ‘been a while?’ or perhaps you believe you’re on your own after a tragedy, wondering “How can I find out how to clean up after a dead body?”
(If you’re asking that last question because you’ve been bad, our answer is “get an attorney”).
Those who have just lost a loved one might feel awkward asking “How much does crime scene cleanup cost?” Regardless of the type of crisis, or the emotional state of our potential customers, money does matter. Death and trauma leaves chaos in its wake, and for those dealing with the emotional and financial aftermath, information is essential to making informed decisions.
Whether you’re just curious about crime scene cleanup in general, or you’re picking up the pieces after a traumatic incident, you’re probably here at the Bio Recovery blog to learn more about what we do. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, whatever your reason, and here are some of the questions we most often hear:
How much does crime scene cleanup cost?
In the crime scene cleanup industry, number crunching and estimation isn’t always easy. Some businesses take advantage of the potential for “unexpected costs” while others, like Bio Recovery, do our best to be transparent in estimating the cost of cleaning up after death, traumatic injury, decomposition, and other biohazard contamination situations. We get as much information as possible, and use previous jobs as guidelines for pricing. And since we’ve been longer than most of our competitors, we’ve got a good frame of reference.
So back to the question: “How much does biohazard cleaning cost?” While a typical crime scene cleanup claim might cost $2,300 to $3,200, and additional biohazard disposal on a claim typically runs between $600 and $1,350, biohazard cleanups can run double or triple that on the labor charges alone.
Bio Recovery’s trauma scene cleanup pricing typically ranges between $1,750 and $3,700, but all projects are unique and pricing is dependent upon the extent of the decontamination, length of time between discovery and cleanup, and logistical issues related to the property location and access.
In most cases, our clients need us to respond right away. This requires that our office staff asks a number of questions to better understand the scope of the project. Our customers can help make their crime scene cleanup less expensive by having certain information available. Here’s what we need to know to provide the most accurate estimate:
Location of the trauma
- If blood and body fluid spills occur on an upper floor, seepage through flooring and building materials may be more extensive.
- A traumatic incident in a hallway or open concept property may require more labor than an incident in a closed-off room.
- Cluttered spaces require labor to inspect, sort, and sanitize, and usually increase disposal costs.
- Lack of off-street parking in urban areas requires that we arrange for blocked-off areas for our vehicles and roll-off garbage containers.
- Remote locations may require longer trips to biohazard waste disposal facilities, as well as travel time.
Cause of contamination
Gunshot trauma spreads blood, fluid, and tissue across a broader area. Our experienced technicians know to search every inch of the site and surrounding area for biological matter often left behind after the body is removed. This includes wall and furniture surfaces, around, under, behind, and inside any furnishings, fixtures belongings, and decor, including items that we suspect may have been moved by emergency personnel. If the crime or suicide involves a firearm, we’ll want to know what type as shotguns, rifles, and handguns all have characteristic influences on the extent of contamination.
Blood spill contamination also varies greatly among the most common forms of violence: blunt trauma assault, stabbings, and head wounds. Non-violent fluid spills, including accidents, illness, and uncontrolled body functions, might not cover as much area, but often seep into subflooring and unsealed concrete.
Body decomposition is most often limited to self-contained absorbent surfaces such as beds, sofas, or upholstered chairs. If this is the case, we do our best to break down the furniture so that contaminated parts are disposed of according to health and safety laws, while the remainder is discarded with regular waste materials to help keep biohazard disposal costs down.
Sometimes, we’re called out to sanitize vehicles that have been contaminated by injuries, accidents, animal roadkill, suicides, or even birth fluids when expecting parents don’t quite make it to the hospital in time. Vehicles tend to be complicated due to the many small spaces in which biological matter can invade.
Weather and climate (including heating and cooling systems), lapse of time, and even the physical condition of the deceased prior to death affect the complexity of a biohazard cleanup job, especially in situations involving offensive decomposition odors. Often, if a body remains undiscovered for a length of time, we’re also asked to clean up spoiled food in the refrigerator, detritus from pest infestations, and pet waste.
We’re often called in to “take over” when family members, employees, or less-experienced crime scene cleanup companies fail to completely sanitize an affected area. Improper techniques, equipment, and cleaning compounds can actually make the problem much worse.
What do crime scene cleaners do?
When you call a crime scene cleanup company such as Bio Recovery, we respond as quickly as possible. Once the body is removed by the authorities or funeral director, we get to work:
- Arrange for roll-off (dumpster) delivery, if necessary
- Develop an access and egress plan to prevent further contamination
- Locate and remove any remaining tissue
- Locate and remove any investigative compounds
- Remove any affected materials which cannot safely be cleaned (furniture, surface flooring, subflooring, and drywall sections)
- Inspect wall and floor joinery for potential leakage into structural spaces
- Inspect and clean fixtures, molding, cabinets (fronts and interiors), appliances, and equipment
- Neutralize all odor-causing materials from porous and solid surfaces
- Package, transport, and discard all biohazardous materials to designated disposal facilities as outlined by OSHA laws
Our comprehensive checklist ensures that our trauma scene cleaning teams follow protocols that ensure your property is released to you in fully-sanitized condition, and we follow all applicable laws and OSHA requirements.
Who cleans up a crime scene… as a profession?
Sometimes that question means, “Eww… who would clean up blood”, or “who cleans up after dead bodies?” as if they can’t imagine what kind of person would choose such a job. We get it! You don’t want the unpleasant task of cleaning up blood and other biological materials, so why should anyone else? Our technicians are mentally equipped to confront difficult situations, and they’re trained to do it well. They’re equipped with personal protection equipment (PPE) and trained to use methods that keep them (and you) safe. We’re proud of our crime scene cleanup professionals. They work hard, and many of them feel there’s an extra reward in knowing they’re making our customers’ lives just a bit easier.
We perform background checks on our staff, and when we’re interviewing new team members, we look for values that reflect Bio Recovery’s: integrity, empathy, professionalism, and attention to detail.
Who pays for crime scene cleanup?
Simply put, biohazard contamination is property damage. If left unchecked, it diminishes a property’s value. Property insurance (homeowner’s, business, renters’, and comprehensive auto insurance) often covers most or all of our fees. If the damage was incurred in the commission of a crime and the claimant wasn’t the responsible party you may wish to contact your municipal, county, or state victims’ services programs for financial support.
We typically work directly with our clients’ insurance representatives to arrange payments. It’s helpful to have your insurance agent’s contact information and your policy number handy should you need to call us.
Who can I call to clean up a crime scene, blood spill, or human decomposition?
Don’t rely on the kindness of well-meaning friends or relatives, and don’t hire standard cleaning services. Only an experienced, properly-equipped biohazard remediation company can thoroughly sanitize your property and return it to its pre-trauma condition. Bio Recovery’s reputation and 18+ years serving satisfied clients is testimony to our ability to conduct ourselves with professionalism, integrity, and the highest standards of service. Contact us 24/7 at 1-888-968-9175 if you have questions of your own, or if you’d like us to provide you with a quote.